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Gary Clark Jr.

HWUL Raw Cuts Vol. 1 (Warner Bros.)

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., May 25, 2012

Vinyl Platters

Gary Clark Jr.

HWUL Raw Cuts Vol. 1 (Warner Bros.)

Sometimes all it takes is a sole EP to land you in Sir Mick Jagger's pickup band playing for the Obamas at the White House. Warner Bros. debut Bright Lights was that one in a million last year for Austin bluesman Gary Clark Jr., so this two-track Record Store Day 12-inch constitutes the follow-up, or better yet, the runoff. Beyond the fact that Raw Cuts should've come on red vinyl to match its outrageous artwork – a trend that never caught on at major labels – the front side sandwiches Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From the Sun" with Little Johnny Taylor's "If You Love Me (Like You Say)" live from Charlottesville, Va., a 12-minute squall of Indian raga, St. James' otherworldly chords, and the gospel according to Taylor's funky soul, with its squishy swamp sonics frying in the outer fringes of Earth's sun shield. "Ooo – got a little bit crazy," cracks Clark at the end. The flip side, cut in London, revisits the title track off Clark's self-penned breakout, hinting at "All Along the Watchtower" before refracting the urban solar flares of "Bright Lights" for more than 11 minutes. Bless this band of gypsies.

***

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